Walk tall and carry a big flyswatter

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

April 5th, 2007

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What does it say about us as a society that The Sopranos’ new season, which starts on Sunday, got a front-page mention in The Globe and Mail today?

I admit, before the series moved to The Movie Network, I was a faithful fan of mobster Tony Soprano, whose inability to find a work/life balance made my problems in that area seem rather insignificant. And I happen to know, because these are the important things the editor of Cottage Life magazine needs to keep track of, that the first episode of this new season, which is also the final season, takes place at a cottage.

It’s not so surprising, really, that the series would take a step off its gritty urban stage into cottage country. Everyone’s doing it, you know. Consider all the recent ads that have as their backdrop some variation of misty mornings on the lake: MMOTL with fresh roasted coffee beans; MMOTL with silhouetted Freedom 55 canoe paddler; MMOTL with fishermen who are about to catch something big that will drag them around at high speed (can’t recall what that ad was for – a self-propelled vacuum cleaner maybe?). And what about that ad in which Mom and Dad surprise each of the grown-up kids with the keys to their own cottage across the lake? The shock on their faces may have been from envisioning their collective property tax bill.

Notice how you never see anyone in those cottage-country ads inspecting their septic system, or putting in the foot valve, or drawing straws to see who will empty the mouse traps? That’s for real cottagers. According to a Canadian Press story on Canada.com, however, actress Molly Parker and her writer/director husband, Matt Bissonnette, may have turned into real cottagers during the filming of their movie Who Loves the Sun on Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg.

CP reports that “They didn’t bargain for the province’s famously nasty mosquitoes. ‘Unreal,’ the British Columbia-born Parker says of the insidious insects. ‘It was unbelievable.’ Bissonnette says the cast – which also includes Lukas Haas, Adam Scott, Wendy Crewson and R.H. Thomson – had to resort to extraordinary measures to fend off the pesky creatures. ‘We bought these things at a truck stop called Executioners which are these tennis rackets … (that) instead of strings have electric wires and you can sort of swing them around and hit bugs and they zap. (The cast) would just sit there with these things in front of them. It was like a little techno concert or something.’”

A new weapon of choice at the cottage? Tony Soprano, take note.

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Penny Caldwell